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Paul Reid News/Business. (2012) 'The Last Lion Winston Spencer Churchill, Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965.'

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00:30:00

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mpeg2video

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ac3

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480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Winston Churchill 4, Thompson 4, Norway 3, Marshall 3, Winston 3, Dunkirk 2, Sumatra 2, Kenna 2, France 2, New York 2, Sarah 2, Mary 2, Soames 2, Diana 2, Elizabeth 2, Mussolini 1, Italy 1, Sicily 1, Greece 1, Manchester 1,
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  CSPAN    Q A    Paul Reid  News/Business.  (2012) 'The Last Lion  
   Winston Spencer Churchill, Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965.'  

    December 24, 2012
    5:30 - 6:00am EST  

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>> by the time i was nine i was handing out leaflets for robert kennedy. i would say when i was 10 i broke with the democratic party and went to work for john lindsey who was running for mayor of new york. but i wouldn't work with him at the republican headquarters. i was handing out leaflets on a street corner in new york and some woman thought this was cute, this little boy handing out leaflets and she asked why i made the case for lindsey and got an early start on my political consulting career and made the case for his opponent as well. she hands me a box of what looked to be pastry, whit box with string. i took it back to the liberal party headquarters and we opened it up and there was all of these doughnuts and a lot of 10 dollar
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bills. so in one of my early lessons in politics the district leader grabbed the money and said you can keep the doughnut. >> tuesday night at 8:00 david axelrod on his life in journalism and politics followed at 9:30 with all five of new hampshire's first all-women delegation. at 10:45, growing up in the white house with two women. that is tuesday evening on c-span. >> as president obama begins his second term in office what is the most important issue to consider in 2013? tell us. make a shord video about your message to the president. it is c-span's student video competition with the chance to win a grand prize of $5,000 and $50,000 in total prizes. go to studentcam.org.
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>> winston spendser churchill, defender of the realm. 1940 to 1965. host: paul reid, co-author with william manchester of the last lion, the third of a trilogy, if you could have dinner with winston chump -- churchill and ask him a series of questions what would they be? >> he didn't like strangers and didn't like the press and didn't give anything away. i would ask him about his religious beliefs or lack thereof. i found that fascinating. he read plato and airs as to thele and cyst -- cicero but he
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made himself into a classical man. he lived a life in accordance with the precursor to the christian ethic we find in plato and greek gloves and humanist but godless ethic. th then, let's see. the second front. i would like him to have the final word because we americans have set him up for the decades as at one point almost cowardly in his aversion to the second front, none of which is tree. host: what does that mean, the second front? guest: the push from washington, d.c. by general marshall to go to norman did i -- norman did i.
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to open a second front. franklin roosevelt is telling marshall we have to fight somewhere, it is an election year. and churchill pushed back in 1942 and 1943 and finally the norm normandy invasion came and he took a lot of heat from roosevelt, stalin, so i would like sir winston to have the opportunity to tell me in his own words the story behind the story. in his memoirs he avoids the squabbles, doesn't even mention it. but the alliance was perched on the cliff several times. host: what would he have been like to be around? guest: if you worked for him you would get a mercurial, sometimes generous, sometimes overbearing,
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sometimes almost cruel boss who, he didn't know how to apologize, which men of his age and class, they are not going to apologize to a young private secretary or typist. and he had a way of sort of turning the tables and his version of a apology would be to say i'm a very kind man and you are doing a very good job today but the issue was never settled. he always had to get the last word in. one night going through white hall a german bomb fell. he should not have been out at all. his bodyguard pushed him into a doorway and a couple of thompson's men were actually slightly wounded. churchill didn't like to be touched and he said thompson, don't do that. thompson said sir, you should not be out here, this is
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dangerous. churchill said i'm only doing there because i know you love to, which was completely untrue. thompson would rather be down in the shelter. he went after the typists all the time and made life more give for them as he was dictated he dictated all of his member most and addresses, he didn't like shorthand because it is a middle man. why take shorthand and type when he can save time and you type. unfortunately he would have the gr gra old tunes going and and turn under the volume and he would speak looking out the window and the typist is over there and can't hear him and when she would finish he would come over to the typewriter and put his hand on the white piece
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of paper and say gimme. that was the signal that he was done. very curt. host: when did he walk in front of his typist with nothing on? nude. he didn't dictate but he would come out of his bathroom. the fact that he could move the taps with his toes and he would be splashing in his bath and the typist with be ready across the hall and he would get out of the bath and maybe walk across the stairs into his room and get in a dressing gown so they would bump into him walking around with his dragging bathrobe half open or naked. but he didn't dictate. host: if you were at the dinner table with him would there be a conversation? guest: yes, there would be a one-way conversation.
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church. he said my idea of a wonderful evening is to have dinner with my best friends with wonderful food and wonderful wine and to spend the rest of the dinner in as the tion with myself lead conversationalist. and this was churchill. i would be quite daunted to sit down with winston churchill and folks as high as harry hopkins and general marshall and perhaps not anyone roosevelt, were as well. as one said once at dinner, winston pitches and everyone else bats. why if you were to ask him questions about his immediate family what would they be? guest: later in life -- and had is so post modern american journalism -- i would ask him how he felt about his songs descent into alcoholism and his
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daughter's sarah's and daughter's diana's mental illness. it was a very sad family. and clementine, his wife, was in and out of hospitals for nervous breakdowns. and his own daughter, mary, wrote that churchill didn't care about what was going on in people's heads, had no use for psychiatrists, was not very empathetic. host: mary solmes, his daughter, who i understand is still alive, was here and you interviewed her. guest: yes, i interviewed by temple and wrote her letters. she wrote long generous letters become. i had feature story questions. did you get your father for christmas, what did he get you, how tall was the christmas tree. host: here is a clip of when chefs -- she was here in 1999.
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[video clip] >> my father, in the last years of his life declined very much. but he was -- in 1955, just before he retired as minister, he led a speech in the house of commons on the hydrogen bomb. the secretary on duty at the time said he took 20 hours of work and dictated every word. a imagine gist steeler -- imagine gist steeler piece. the last part of his life was sort of like a fire that was burning and dies down and you get sparks and suddenly flames will be bright and then other times is rather low but certainly the last two or three years of his life he was very
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old. host: when did he die? guest: in january of 1965. lady soames inherited her father's literary talent. that was a beautiful 35 or 40 seconds. his last private secretary wrote memoir called long sunset about those years and described it as a long afternoon. that being said, i think he took eight crewses with ari onassis in the caribbean, up to new york. and when the seas were rough chump -- churchill insisted on sitting on the area and watching and he would be held there, an 86, 87, 88-year-old churchill on
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the piano in rough seas. and the masses would sit on the floor with their bottles of champagne between their knees and churchill would be in his bed surrounded by his bottle of champagne. this is the 88 or 90-year-old -- not 90 but late 80's. he lived a very rich life, back and forth on the queen mary and queen elizabeth. and his second premiership in the early 1950's. so i think lady soames is correct, she knows her father. the last eight or nine years were a slow descent. and when diana died of an overdose of barbiturates, the daughter, he didn't quite get it. sarah's husband died and he didn't get it.
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but the christmas of 1964 they brought in fresh oysters and champagne and porpt and his old private secretary was there and month thwo tkpwaou -- montague mountain and cigars and brandy. and i think it was on june 9 -- january 9 -- churchill refused his brandy and a cigar after dinner that night, first time over. they escorted him to bed. by the 12th he was in a coma. and his doctor, both doctors, said it is a question of hours, maybe a day. was actually a question of more than two weeks. january 24, and they didn't know how strong he was to the end. host: you mentioned his private
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secretary and you mention him a lot during the book and reference a lot of his material. who was he? guest: well, he was the private secretary of all of them who kept diary and makes him a gold mine for biographers and he became personal friends with churchill. he worked for the fortune office and when he was posted to 10 downing street, it was a temporary posting and it could affect his pension. the professional public servants were wary of this sort of thing and he kept the diary and without the coville diary a great deal would be missing because roosevelt might be at the dinner table or harry hopkins or stalin. so, coville was meeting everyone and a wonderful honest diary about the old man as he called churchi churchill. midway through the war churchill allowed him, after much
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protestation to fly in the r.a.f. coville left number 10 for a posting. then he came back toward the end of the war and served princess elizabeth, came back for the second premiership and served churchill to the ends. host: pat kenna was another one you ha his secretaries we interviewed 94 and he tells a story about a time at the white house. we will run this and let you fill in the blinks. [video clip] >> he was dictating in the white house on a visit. early won morning t-- one mornig the valet came and he was in his bathrobe and i said he loves to dictate immediately and he was
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in the water and submerging and still dictating. >> say that again. he was dictating to you in his bath. >> yes, he was like a walrus going down and coming up and saying a few more words. and this went on. and after the bath he had a towel around him and i followed him with my notebook and he was still dictating and once he got on to something he never stopped and he was walking up and down in his bedroom and i was sitting there and still taking down. then a tap on the door and in was wheeled and he is stark not a bit of clothing and he
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immediately said you see, mr. president i have nothing to hide. host: any more of that story you know? guest: this is one of those stories there are several sides to it. and churchill did write a letter to the king that week saying i believe i'm the only british prime minister to have greeted the president naked. whether the exchange took place i have nothing to hide he said later we did have secrets. so there was some dispute good natured over the years whether that actually happened. and i should add when i was talking early why about the stenographers and typists, they were mostly young women. pat kenna was i think a corporal and was brought in but for the most part they were young women. many of them went to bed in tears after taking letters from churchill all day. host: did anybody stand up to him? guest: those who did got his
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respect. one important kicase was the middle east commander in cairo who was brilliant and spoke russian, wrote poetry. sounds like he could have been a good companion at churchill's dinner table but churchill didn't think he was a fighter which was unfair because he was. he just didn't like to send his men out to be slaughtered. he would talk about the butcher's bill based on churchill's latest scheme. but he didn't stand up to winston. and churchill sacked him. and he brought in oshenlect to take his place and he stood up to him so there were fireworks there and later between chump and montgomery and churchill and who stood up to him. so the more the fireworks, that means the better the relationship really is between
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the general or the admiral and churchill. if it is quiet someone is going to get sack and it is not winston. host: this book is over 1,100 pages. your name is on the cover and so is william manchester. can you tell where manchester starts and where you start? guest: that is the game. i hope not. and i have had people i respect say where did you start and where did he end. he did about 200 typewritten pages, which would be 100 to 110 pages. but they are in the linear. i moved in and maybe i would write a page and two of bill's, three of mine. so, somewhere in the first two or so hundred pages are his 100.
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host: when did mr. manchester die? guest: he died june 4, 2004. host: and when did you first meet him? guest: in september of 1998. i went up to middletown, connecticut, where he lived with some of his old marine buddies. he had had two strokes. the five marines were going up to boost his spirits. his wife of 50 years had died. two strokes. he hadn't been able to write for years, five, six, seven years before that. so he was down and they went up to pick him up. host: we have some video of a little bit of him so people can see what he looked and sounded like. then i want to ask you more questions about him. [video clip] >> there are many misty surveying traits in mcarthur. there is no question he was brave beyond belief in world war i but there were other than times in which he was absent
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from the front. but he wanted people at home to think that he was so he had photographs taken of him mentioning mcarthur at the front. they laughed. host: what we see is what you saw? guest: i saw an older man. what year was that? host: 1982. guest: i met him coming up on 16 years later. he had had the strokes. he was still sharp, funny. i have taped conversations at that dinner table over the years and i visited him many times. we became friends. he couldn't write but he could think. he could talk. and he could analyze. he just couldn't connect everything on paper.
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and he hated not being able to finish the book. the strokes, i have told some folks, actually give him a peaceful way of exiting. he didn't have to fight it any more. he knew he was not going to win. he started swimming at the y and doing therapy because his left side was a little off. he found a measure of peace, if you will, after the strokes. host: whether did you think of the james miller piece on this whole book that you have done in "new york times" on november 4? guest: well, that was my first experience on the other side of fence, being a former reporter. and i think mr. miller wanted to write a piece that -- i wish you could ask him that question -- i liked the piece.
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it was a tough job. it took eight years. took a chunk out of my time and my family and we all sacrificed, and i think he liked that story, the human interest story. it was not a bock review. i thought he did pretty good job. host: the reason i asked because at one point he mentions all the people that supposedly were possible people to complete this third book but he mentions i think diane mcquarter. and somebody told him -- i don't know if you did -- somebody told him that she was rejected because she was not -- what is the word -- she didn't like winston churchill and she was not supportive of him. is that a true story? and did he want you to be a booster of winston churchill? guest: well, stparpgs the first part -- as far as the first part
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of the question, this is 1999, 2000, i wouldn't bring up a subject like that. we would talk about the red sox. but he did mention that writer. and he didn't say anything to me about her not liking churchill or anything. he indiana offhand thought he was going to treat people of london as victims and he treated them like heroes. he never said paul don't forget i love churchill and you have to love chumrchill. he gave me no guidance. as soon as after i wrote the 50 or 60-page audition he was very illinois and then he died -- ill he died. he said you write and i will edit.
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my red pencils are sharp wanted and ready to go. they are still sharpened. host: what was the worst part of this whole experience for you? guest: well, i have been telling folks i'm just a block-headed enough boston irishman to not have had a worst part. i said i was going to get it done however it takes. i didn't worry that maybe the publisher is thinking in year four or five reid is not going to be able to do it. i just kept moving along and never give in. bill's notes from a process standpoint didn't work for me. i had to reinvent the wheel. his research was all there but as i said in the author's note it spoke to him in ways -- the notes spoke to him in which is they couldn't speak to me. so i had my own system and plod ed along. i mentioned to other folks that if bill manchester was working on a biography of pagenini or
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third duke of burgundy or something, i'm not the guy. this, since my earliest childhood, world war ii and chur churchill was a life love long. my father went to the naval academy and he would play churchill and hitler speeches on the victrola and i'm listening to this and he would say this is winston, this is mussolini, he would put his hands on his hips and throw his jaw out and said mussoli mussolini made the trains run on time. that was the environment i grew up in and i felt very comfortable when bill asked me to finish the book. again silly me, i thought i can do this. whether it is hubris or no.
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host: what did you think he saw in you that he hadn't seen in any of the other possible writers? guest: we did talk about that. he was adamant, he told me -- because i didn't encourage him -- he said bill try to find somebody. he said no, it is like a mother giving away his child to be raised by another. i said bill if he doesn't both the mother and child will die. he would say nice try, no. i mentioned a historian and he said i don't want a historian. if i wanted anyone i would want a writer. this was maybe 2000, 2001. said when he sasked, he paul you are a father writer, you have written 500, 600 feature stories and that is
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where i started. he saw the journalist as the same tools as a hitch. get a source, get a second source and put it together but first and foremost when all of that is assembled, tell a story that would pass the campfire test i call it of a bunch of folks sitting around a campfire. that was his genius as storyteller. host: so, if you you had to pic your favorite stories about winston churchill what would they be? guest: i enjoyed his battles with the americans over the second front. over when to go to france. churchill wanted to go everywhere. he wanted to invade norway, sumatra, trieste, italy, sicily, somewhere in france some day. and his generals were pulling
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their hair out and eisenhower was. wanted to be all over the map, everywhere. and the fiores -- forays to greece were utter disasters. i would love to follow hovering behind him churchill as he goes from meeting to meeting and it is norway, then when he sells his generals on maybe the viability of going to norway or thinking about it, then he says no, no, we will go to sumatra instead. he gave them fits. host: so, you would tell all kinds of stories in here. you covered the dunkirk story. where was he, what year is dunkirk, what was it and where was he in this process? guest: the evacuation? host: yes. guest: that would be the last week of m